Mia Levitin

Portrait of a paranoiac: Death in Her Hands, by Ottessa Moshfegh, reviewed

A cryptic message discovered in the New England woods leads to madness and breakdown for Moshfegh’s lonely, widowed protagonist

Ottessa Moshfegh. Credit: Getty Images

Like Ottessa Moshfegh’s first novel Eileen (2015), Death in Her Hands plays with the conventions of noir. Vesta Gul, a recently widowed 72-year-old, lives in a secluded lake cabin in rural New England. Walking her dog one day in the woods, she finds a cryptic note under a rock: ‘Her name was Magda,’ it reads.

Already a subscriber? Log in

Keep reading with a free trial

Subscribe and get your first month of online and app access for free. After that it’s just £1 a week.

There’s no commitment, you can cancel any time.


Unlock more articles



Don't miss out

Join the conversation with other Spectator readers. Subscribe to leave a comment.

Already a subscriber? Log in